The word “archangel” means chief angel. It derives from the Greek archō, meaning to be first in rank or power; and aggělǒs which means messenger.
Michael is the only angel the Bible named expressly as “the” archangel. In the Book of Daniel he is referred to as “one of the chief princes”. The word “prince” here is the ancient Hebrew word sar, which means: “a head person (of any rank or class), a chief, a general etc.”
In most Christian traditions Gabriel is also considered an archangel, but there is no direct literal support for this assumption.
The name of the archangel Raphael appears only in the Book of Tobit (Tobias). Tobit is considered Deuterocanonical by Roman Catholics (both Eastern and Western Rites) and Eastern Orthodox Christians. The Book of Tobit is also read by Anglicans and Lutherans, but not by Reformed Christians or Baptists. Raphael said to Tobias that he was “one of the seven who stand before the Lord”, and it is generally believed that Michael and Gabriel are two of the other six.
A fourth Archangel is Uriel whose name literally means “Fire of God” or “Light of God.” Uriel’s name is the only one not mentioned in the Lutheran Bible, but plays, however, a prominent role in an apocryphon read by Anglican and Russian Orthodox Christians: The second Book of Esdras (fourth Books of Esdras in the Latin Vulgate). In the book he unveils seven prophecies to the prophet Ezra, after whom the book is named. He also plays a role in the apocryphal Book of Enoch, which is considered canonical only by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
Another possible interpretation of the seven archangels is that these seven are the seven spirits of God that stand before the throne described in the Book of Enoch, and in the Book of Revelation.
The Seven Archangels are said to be the guardian angels of nations and countries, and are concerned with the issues and events surrounding these, including politics, military matters, commerce and trade: e.g. Archangel Michael is traditionally seen as the protector of Israel and of the ecclesia (Gr. root ekklesia from the New Testament passages), theologically equated as the Church, the forerunner of the spiritual New Israel.
It is possible to make a distinction between archangel (with a lower-case a) and Archangel (with an uppercase A). The former can denote the second-lowest choir (arch-angels in the sense of being just above the lowest Choir of angels that is called only “angels”) but the latter may denote the highest of all the angels (i.e., Arch-angels in the sense of being above all angels, of any Choir. The seven highest Seraphim, Michael being the highest of all, once Satan fell).
List of Archangels: ( click on the name for more information ! )
Last updated: May 30, 2015 at 21:21 pm
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